The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the statement of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, recorded by the special investigating team (SIT), probing some of the 2002 Gujarat riots cases, should not be made public, and also granted more time to the SIT to conclude its investigations into the Ehsaan Jaffrey murder case.
But the report is understood to have indicted former Gujarat home minister Goverdhan Zaphadia and two senior Gujarat cadre police officers. One of them, M.K. Tandon, is former additional director general of police, while D. B. Gondia is former inspector general of the state.The court also criticised the role of activist Teesta Setalvad in the investigations.
After going through the SIT’s latest status report, a special bench headed by Justice D.K. Jain, declined permission to disclose the contents of the riots report before the Nanavati Commission. It added that the contents of Modi’s statement to SIT would be divulged only to the trial court and the public prosecutor of the case.
The bench also took exception to activist Teesta Setalvad contacting a special public prosecutor in connection with one of the Gujarat riots cases. It passed a stern direction that no one, except SIT chief R.K. Raghavan, would communicate with the special prosecutors.
The SIT had criticised Setalvad for allegedly threatening the prosecutor when she opposed an application seeking stay of trial in a riots case.
Further, the court did not appreciate Gujarat High Court order directing the SIT to investigate the alleged fake encounter of teenager Ishran Jahaan.
When the bench objected to the direction, senior advocate and amicus curiae Harish Salve said an application would be filed before the Gujarat HC to recall the order.
Interestingly, during the hearing, Gujarat government opposed the court’s direction to SIT to hand over its latest report to amicus curiae Prashant Bhushan, assisting the court in the petition seeking an inquiry into the Ehsan Jafri murder case. However, the court overruled the objections, but told Bhushan the report should not be leaked.
SIT’s interim report comes after the April 27 Supreme Court order asking SIT to probe the role of 62 persons including Modi in the post-Godhra riots cases.
Jafri’s wife, Zakia Jafri moved the petition before court. Jafri was among the 40 persons who died during the riots at Gulburg society.